Doctor Who: Get a sneak peek of the VFX by Axis for the special Christmas day episode

Bristol and Glasgow studios completed more than 120 VFX shots for 'The Husbands of River Song'


Here's a taster of the visual effects created by axisVFX for the BBC’s flagship Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who. You can watch the trailer video above and see shots from the episode here too. 

The Bristol and Glasgow based studio completed more than 120 shots for the now traditionally star-filled episode, creating spectacular effects and renewing a successful collaboration with director Douglas Mackinnon, executive producer Brian Minchin, producer Nikki Wilson and writer Steven Moffat.

You can catch the episode on Christmas Day at 5.15pm on BBC One, then tune into Digital Arts for a behind-the-scenes guide after all is revealed on TV.

The work on The Husbands of River Song was completed across Axis's two studios. The team, led by VFX supervisors Grant Hewlett and Stuart Aitken, worked closely with Mackinnon and Wilson to create a range of vfx including alien planets and giant robots to galactic star-liners.

"It’s a huge honour to contribute again to this iconic sci-fi classic," said axisVFX co-founder Hewlett.

The team completed a range of work spanning digital matte painting, character animation, fluids and particle simulation work, rigid body simulations and compositing using Maya, Houdini and Nuke.


"I was on-set liaising with Douglas throughout the shoot,” explained Hewlett, “Stuart worked in parallel, supervising the build of digital assets, creation of concept art and the production of early previz.”

The company uses Autodesk’s Shotgun to review work, and has developed a number of proprietary tools for the seamless delivery of final VFX shot anywhere in the world.

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“We engage a huge amount of technical ability, hardware and software to complete the work,” said Hewlett. “But what actually matters is collaboration, listening and bang for buck."

It’s a pleasure and an honour to work with Douglas, Brian, Nikki and Steven again on Doctor Who,” he added.  “It’s a wonderful episode packed with action and spectacle."